SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - The bus drivers strike in Santa Clarita has entered its third week Monday, with more reductions in service resulting from a lack of drivers.
The bus drivers for Santa Clarita Transit began striking on Oct. 9, 21 days ago. MV Transportation, which contracts with Santa Clarita Transit to provide bus service for Santa Clarita, began suspending routes and canceling some services when the strike started.
Limited service is being offered, with school routes, Dial A Ride and some local routes in operation on an emergency basis.
Santa Clarita Transit reduced the number of buses on three afternoon routes from two buses to one because of a lack of drivers on Friday.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Santa Clarita bus drivers go on strike
Two emergency transit service routes were added Oct. 17, bringing five limited emergency routes, six limited school tripper routes and Dial A Ride and Access service in operation Monday through Friday.
The emergency routes are in operation from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Santa Clarita Transit secured a temporary emergency contract with Transit Systems to provide emergency bus service during the strike between the union representing drivers and MV Transportation.
The emergency contract with Transit Systems began providing limited, fare-free bus service for local and school tripper routes on Oct. 10.
There is no commuter services being provided during the strike.
Around 200 Santa Clarita Transit employees have been picketing outside the two entrances to the city transit yard daily since the strike started.
Lourdes Garcia, president of Local 572, said the union is seeking a 9% pay increase for 2022, an 8% increase for 2023 and an 8% increase for 2024, according to media reports.
MV Transportation is reportedly offering $19.75 per hour to start, with a 25 cent increase after one year, 10 cent increase after two years, 10 cent increase after three years, 15 cent increase after four years and 75 cent increase after five years.
The strike halted service for hundreds of students and passengers in the city.
Santa Clarita Transit posted on its website service was suspended on all commuter and local routes when the strike started. A driver shortage forced Santa Clarita Transit to suspend all bus service on Oct. 9.
The strike interrupted bus service for students in the William S. Hart Union High School District and passengers throughout the city.
The city of Santa Clarita partners with MV Transportation for bus services. The union voted to authorize a strike on Sept. 15. The city of Santa Clarita is not a participant in the labor dispute, MV Transportation said in a statement.
The union notified Santa Clarita Transit on Sept. 28 of the decision to halt work, but delayed going on strike for a week.
City officials are encouraging both sides to continue negotiations and bargain in good faith until an agreement is reached.
Santa Clarita Transit provides a school tripper service for students in the Hart district who attend La Mesa Junior High School, Castaic High School, Rancho Pico Junior High School, Saugus High School and Arroyo Seco Junior High School.
The Hart district posted on its website for those who use Santa Clarita Transit services to make alternate plans for transportation to schools. The district's yellow bus service for special needs students will not be interrupted, according to the district.
"No other local, tripper, or commuter routes can be served at this time. However, the city continues efforts to increase service levels," the site reads. "The city is also coordinating with the Hart district to cover service gaps."